• More than 10,000 people in the United States die each year in crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver.
  • In Arizona, it's illegal to drive with a blood alcohol blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above 0.08%
  • A Field Sobriety Test (FST) involves a series of physical and mental exercises designed to measure your coordination, balance, and attention. 
  • There are consequences to refusing to take a Field Sobriety Test in Arizona.

 Is it Legal to Refuse a Field Sobriety Test in Arizona?

After a crazy week at work, a lot of adults like to unwind. Sometimes that means grabbing a few drinks with friends at a restaurant or bar. But when that drink with friends turns into something more like drinks, it's time to find a ride home with a sober driver.

Can you legally refuse to take a field sobriety test if you're pulled over for drunk driving in Arizona?
Is it legal to refuse a field sobriety test in Arizona? // Canva
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Every year in the United States, more than 10,000 people die in crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver.

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Unfortunately, we don't always choose to call a sober friend or an Uber when we need to get home.

According to the CDC, more than 10,000 people in the United States die each year in crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver.

The Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) Sobering Facts infographic shows that in Arizona, 1.1% of Arizona drivers admit they've driven after having too much to drink.

Can you legally refuse to take a field sobriety test if you're pulled over for drunk driving in Arizona?
According to the CDC, 2,349 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes in Arizona between 2009 and 2019. // Canva
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That’s compared to 1.7% of drivers nationally.  In Arizona, it's illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above 0.08%. Getting to that 0.08% BAC can vary depending on your weight and gender, what you're drinking, and how fast you're knocking them back.

For the most part, it takes between two and four drinks for a person of average weight to reach a BAC of 0.08.

The Field Sobriety Test in Arizona: Not a Foolproof Assessment

If a police officer suspects you of Driving Under the influence (DUI) in Arizona, you could be pulled over and asked to perform a field sobriety test (FST).

A field sobriety test involves a series of physical and mental exercises designed to measure your coordination, balance, and attention.

Can you legally refuse to take a field sobriety test if you're pulled over for drunk driving in Arizona?
Implied consent covers other tests, like breathalyzer and blood tests, to determine whether a driver is impaired. // Canva
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However, FSTs are not always reliable, and even sober people can fail the test. For example, you may fail a test if you're fatigued or stressed. Certain medical conditions could cause you to fail, too, even if you're completely sober.

Can You Refuse a Field Sobriety Test in Arizona?

So, can you refuse to take a FST in Arizona? The answer is yes, you can.

A chemical test measures the concentration of alcohol in your breath, blood, or urine. These tests are mandatory under the implied consent law. However, a Field Sobriety Test is voluntary, and you have the right to decline them.

Can you legally refuse to take a field sobriety test if you're pulled over for drunk driving in Arizona?
While you can legally refuse a FST, there may be consequences. // Canva
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While it's legal to decline, there may be consequences if you refuse to take a Field Sobriety Test in Arizona, such as:

  • The officer may arrest you if you seem impaired. For example, if your driving behavior gives him reason to believe you're driving under the influence or if there's an odor emanating from your ride.
  • The officer can legally obtain a search warrant to draw your blood and test it for alcohol or drugs.
  • The prosecutor may use your refusal as evidence of guilt in court, arguing that you were trying to hide your impairment.

While it's legal to refuse a Field Sobriety Test in Arizona, it doesn't guarantee you'll avoid a charge of DUI.

Refusing to take the test could prevent the officer from gathering more evidence against you that could be used to prove your impairment beyond a reasonable doubt.

Can you legally refuse to take a field sobriety test if you're pulled over for drunk driving in Arizona?
The best way to avoid consequences for impaired driving is to think ahead and arrange a safe ride home. // Canva
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The Best Way to Avoid DUI Charges If You've Been Drinking in Arizona

Law enforcement officers in Arizona are human, too, and they want you to have a good time. But their job is to keep everyone safe.

Can you legally refuse to take a field sobriety test if you're pulled over for drunk driving in Arizona?
Call a taxi or a ride share if you don't have a sober friend who can give you a ride home. // Canva
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If you've been drinking and need to get home, there's only one way to guarantee you won't be charged with driving under the influence in Arizona: call a sober driver - a friend, a family member, a taxi, or a ride-share.

Can you legally refuse to take a field sobriety test if you're pulled over for drunk driving in Arizona?
Guarantee you'll get home safely - call a friend or a ride-share. // Canva
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